On pathways for admission of Syrian Refugees

A one-day, high-level meeting on global responsibility sharing through pathways for admission of Syrian refugees was held 30 March 2016 in Geneva .

The meeting was bookended by the 4 February 2016 Supporting Syria conference in London, the 23-24 May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, and the 19 September 2016 Summit Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants in New York.

Via UNHCR,

The focus of the March 30 conference is the need for expanded, multi-year programmes of resettlement and other forms of humanitarian admission, including involving countries that till now have not been involved in such initiatives.

Resettlement is not the only aim. Other such pathways include humanitarian transfer or visas, private sponsorship, medical evacuation, family reunion, academic scholarship, and apprenticeships or labour schemes. The event will also showcase innovative approaches, new partnerships, and successful case studies, and is an opportunity for governments around the world to be part of finding solutions for Syrian refugees.

The meeting will be attended by representatives of some 92 countries, 10 inter- governmental organizations, nine UN agencies and 24 non-government organizations. Speakers will include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Grandi, together with representatives from key refugee-hosting governments.

Some pledges of additional resettlement and other humanitarian admission places are expected to be announced on Wednesday. However, given today’s complex international context and with Syria’s conflict continuing, additional places will be needed over the coming months and years, in particular to address the needs of the most vulnerable refugees and to relieve pressure on Syria’s neighbours. In line with refugee situations elsewhere, UNHCR estimates that as many as 10 per cent of Syria’s 4.8 million refugees fall into this category, and that well over 450,000 places will be needed before the end of 2018.

Advertisements

On studying the timing of displacement

Justin Schon over at the Monkey Cage writes about drives behind population displacement, studying Somalia using UNHCR’s Population Movement Tracking system data —

What factors influence the timing of displacement? Why do certain crises prompt displacement floods while others only elicit a trickle? Unique daily internal displacement data from Somalia in the mid-2000s, which I published in a recent article, can offer insights into these critical policy questions. Since Ethiopia’s 2006 invasion, Somalia has produced some of the world’s largest displacement flows. As Anna Lindley observes, two-thirds of Mogadishu’s population fled between the end of 2006 and the end of 2008. Somali displacement flows furthermore exhibit substantial variation over time. Its lessons may be more broadly applicable, since Somalia contains characteristics that exist in many cases of civil conflict: a weak state, proliferation of armed groups and militias, protracted conflict, poverty, and environmental challenges.

The data derives from an UNHCR project called the Population Movement Tracking system. Begun in mid-2006, the project works with 48 local partners inside Somalia to track displacement on a daily basis. Analyzing this daily displacement data reveals that there were actually 15 distinct cycles of displacement in Somalia from 2008 to 2013. The structural conflict characteristics of geographic scope and balance of power are the most important drivers of displacement timing – and not individual events, as is commonly believed.

[Links in original; emphasis added.]

On Erna speaking about refugees, 2001

The perks of doing archival research is that you occasionally come across some gems:

Status of Refugees – a speech by Erna Solberg, (then) Minister of local Government and Regional Development, at the Ministerial meeting of states parties to the convention relating to the status of refugees on 12 December 2001, Geneva:

This 50th anniversary provides an excellent opportunity to assess the quality of the international regime for the protection of refugees. I agree with UNHCR that in the course of these 50 years the 1951 Convention has proved its relevance, effectiveness and flexibility, despite the ever-changing environment. The Convention will, however, only be an efficient tool as long as the states parties are fully committed to its implementation. I am happy to see that so many colleagues from other countries have reaffirmed their commitments in this regard. […]

Refugee protection predates and goes beyond the 1951 Convention. In 1921 Fridtjof Nansen was appointed as the League of Nations’ first High Commissioner for Refugees. One of Nansen’s main objectives was to help refugees to stand on their own feet as soon as their essential needs had been met. The solutions were the same as those we use today: repatriation, resettlement and local integration. Fridtjof Nansen undoubtedly contributed to setting the standard for future action on behalf of refugees and paved the way for the 1951 Convention.

The preamble to the 1951 Convention notes that the granting of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on certain countries and that a satisfactory solution cannot be achieved without international cooperation. It does not, however, specify how such cooperation should be brought about. Therefore, it is essential that states are willing to engage in such cooperation and that UNHCR provides the necessary coordination. […]

I am pleased to see the progress being made in the global consultations on international protection. In addition to highlighting questions of interpretation relating to the Convention, the consultations have focused on protection challenges that are not clearly covered by the Convention. How to deal with mass outflow situations has been one central issue. I have noted UNHCR ‘s assurances that the Convention is sufficiently flexible to be applied effectively even in situations of large-scale influxes. I’ll bear that in mind. Nonetheless, I believe that large-scale influxes call for practical national tools, stich as temporary protection schemes. The challenge is to make them fully compatible with international protection standards.

On “Resettlement Plus”

UNHCR just published their supplemental appeal, Strengthening refugee resettlement and other pathways to admission and solutions: Global Strategy 2016.

From page 4, UNCHR Strategy,

UNHCR’s response to this unprecedented level of requests for referrals of refugees for resettlement and other forms of admission centers on:

  1. The immediate scale up of capacity for resettlement processing, including through the deployment of additional resettlement, registration and community-based protection staff; and
  2. Strengthening guidelines and overall operational capacity for the long-term provisions of increased referrals for resettlement and other pathways to admission and solutions, including facilitation of new programmes.

On introductions and pep talks

grandi.6jan16

Bonus perk of working out of UNHCR’s archives this week? Getting to watch the new UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi’s introductory remarks to the HQ —

“UNHCR is navigating extraordinarily difficult waters,” Grandi said. “The combination of multiple conflicts and resulting mass displacement, fresh challenges to asylum, the funding gap between humanitarian needs and resources, and growing xenophobia is very dangerous. The road ahead is a challenging one, but I hope that  working with governments, civil society, and other partners  we will make progress in ensuring international protection and improved living conditions for millions of refugees, internally displaced and stateless people.”

On 2016 projected global resettlement needs

UNHCR’s 2016 projected global resettlement needs is a treasure trove of context as to what’s going on, statistically, and the behind the scenes of global resettlement.

From page 17,

Strategic response 2015 – 2016

The Resettlement Service will:

• Expand global capacity and response: Resettlement needs continue to outstrip the number of available places, particularly emergency places.

• Streamline procedures: Resettlement processing challenges require collaboration and resources by UNHCR and States to further simplify resettlement procedures while ensuring the integrity of the process.

• Preserve the humanitarian foundation of resettlement: UNHCR will continue to advocate for States to avoid restrictive selection criteria based on integration potential and to receive refugees recognized under UNHCR’s mandate.

• Expand reception and integration capacity: UNHCR will support the ongoing efforts of resettlement partners and networks to reinforce the integration capacity of receiving communities.

• Situate resettlement within comprehensive solutions: UNHCR will work with host and resettlement countries to integrate resettlement more effectively with other durable solutions.

• Promote multi-year commitments: The use of multi-year resettlement commitments has been identified as a best practice that enables predictable planning and resource allocation, particularly for priority refugee situations and protracted situations.

• Boost field capacity: UNHCR will provide eld-oriented guidance, practical training and operational tools, as well as strategic deployments of af liate workforce.

• Foster partnerships: UNHCR will continue to ensure the effective management of global resettlement efforts through partnerships with the wider NGO community, IOM and other institutions.

• Ensure the integrity of the protection response: UNHCR will develop specialized training and guidance on fraud prevention, investigation, and response, and on ensuring integrity at all stages of the protection-case management process.

• Improve global coordination: UNHCR and resettlement partners will maximize the use of the ATCR/WGR process to enhance the effectiveness and capacity of the global resettlement programme including through the review of existing core and contact groups.